Having outlined my game design philosophy in an earlier forum post, let me turn to some aspects related to class politics.
The State Political Displays:
I kept this in German since it's more thematic and I trust you guys know enough German to understand it.
These displays represent the respective states (exceptions noted further below). They're the heart of the game and markers are placed on them as necessary to indicate shifts in political strength, laws and constitutional provisions governing the action within the state.
Class & Ethnicity
The four distinct classes (Nobility, Bourgeoisie, Workers (incl. Craftsmen), Farmers (incl. Farm Workers) had very different interests and hence acted in very different manners during the revolution.
Frequently, one class was engulfed in revolutionary fervour, while another remained apathetic or even gave support to the Reaction.
I initially did not want to differentiate the population into the various classes, but instead denote unrest markers as farmer, bourgeois (student) and worker unrest.
I’ve now decided it’s better to hard-code the social and ethnic composition of the various states and provinces. There are now ten slots representing the male adult population (for unrest & political club placement). Every such space would roughly represent 10% of the population, though the nobility’s 10% factor in this social group’s social patronage.
This hard-coding will weight the different classes differently to take account of a state’s/province’s degree of urbanisation.
Some of these spaces may be characterised by ethnicity rather than class for non-German populations. So, for instance in Bohemia, you’d have about 7 Czech spaces and three German ones (i.e. the latter divided by class).
This division along class and ethnic lines will ensure that events and actions will have quite different impacts on these social groups. For instance, rural populations thought in very local terms and were fairly indifferent to lofty global ideals like press freedom. The reverse is of course true for the bourgeoisie.
Class political will is largely articulated either by unrest markers and/or political clubs. Unrest is more potent, but can also dissipate quickly, while political clubs represent well-organised grassroots activism. Players will want to capitalise of unrest by transforming it into long-term political strength (i.e. political clubs).
What do you need such articulated political will? Unrest and political clubs are a key component in a player’s power struggle strength (explained in the earlier thread).
From Grassroots Activism to Parliamentary Representation
The population’s political make-up translates on a one-to-one basis to parliamentary representation in the Landtag (state legislature, the German Reichstag works a bit differently) if universal suffrage has been adopted. A more restrictive census suffrage will sideline the workers (Arbeiter) and much of the farming population (Bauern), but also make these populations more unruly (i.e. more prone to unrest).
The degree of influence the head of state (usually a monarch), cabinet and parliament have on legislation varies according to:
- a Landtag being provided for in the state’s constitution
- veto powers (suspensive or absolute) etc.
Any bill introduced may lead to a power struggle. A head of state gets juicy die roll modifiers if having veto powers.
A power struggle can escalate as previously explained. What started off as a legislative power struggle could be escalated to a wider political power struggle and even to an armed power struggle.
Constitutional Provisions are marked either in the Law (Gesetze) Box or in the case of political powers by placing the right marker on the arrow between the institution that has power over another.
Of course, the pre-revolution political competences will be printed right on the map, i.e. rather than a grey arrow indicating potential control, a black or red arrow will show that this power actually exists at the outset of the game.
The above constitutional diagram will represent 8 of the 11 German states in the game. The three bigger states (Prussia, Austria and Bavaria) are somewhat different in that the political make-up of the individual provinces will be added up to portray the respective realms political landscape in its entirety. That’s why the Prussian, Austrian and Bavarian constitutional frameworks will be printed on the side of the map rather than where the state happens to be (as done with the lesser states).
The Reichstag then simply is a composite of all 11 Landtage (provided all states have participated in the national elections), but a party’s electoral result buys it then a number of political character cards.
These characters may later defect to other players. For instance, if you later support say the "Small German" solution and that character is hard-coded as a "Greater German" (an issue explained in the older thread), he might defect. You get the idea, I hope...
- Last edited Wed Apr 8, 2009 12:57 am (Total Number of Edits: 3)
- Posted Wed Apr 8, 2009 12:40 am
Re-doing the map, I saw having the political arenas/constitutional displays right on top of the states simply isn't feasible for space reasons. So those displays went to the side into the unused spaces of Eastern Europe.
Given that, I dare say it's best to transfer the class/ethnicity spaces from the state displays to the on-map spaces. That also ensures the Prussian, Bavarian and Austrian provinces work the same way as all the other spaces. The good thing is that without the class/ethnicity slots, I can expand the rest of the political display given the extra room.
On a more general note, I think Mecklenburg is a goner. Peripheral principality and not a historical hot-spot. Less work for the players then, if having only to deal with 11 instead of 12 constitutions. The province of Pomerania might also become a victim of the space purging...
That being said, Tyrolia might make it into the game. After all, there was the South Tyrolian ethnic/territorial question...
This looks very interesting. Of course the revolutions of 1848 are very poorly known in the US, even among most colleges graduates. It really didn't impact us. If they had succeeded the Germany that emerged would have been very different that the Germany which unified later. Do you have a publisher yet?
Frankfurt am Main
We will move from victims to survivors and conquer as we go.
This looks highly interesting and an excellent choice of theme for a game.
Please keep us posted.
- Last edited Wed Apr 8, 2009 8:16 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Wed Apr 8, 2009 8:16 am
Franklin T wrote:
Of course the revolutions of 1848 are very poorly known in the US, even among most colleges graduates.
My hope is that anyone who plays the game will a fairly good understanding of the dynamics that shaped the 1848 revolution.
The game would include extensive historical information, not to mention the "greatest hits" of revolutionary poetry/songs. I guess some players will then want to explore the subject further by say grabing a history book, novel, poetry anthology and/or a CD "soundtrack" of the revolution.
It really didn't impact us.
Well, take the brain-drain the US benefited from. A lot of "Forty-Eighters" emigrated to the United States and formed an important political constituency, championing the cause of abolition. Franz Sigel and others mobilised the German-American community on behalf of the Union. Kinda another Steuben...
That being said, it's understandable Americans know little of the revolution.
If they had succeeded the Germany that emerged would have been very different that the Germany which unified later.
Over the past 160 years this key question and the arising "what ifs?" thereof has been hotly debated. And of the course of German history, the understanding of the revolution has changed much as the German regimes changed. That being said, I'm wary of the simplistic determinism suggesting that 1517, 1848, 1871 and 1918 inevitably led to our national catastrophy. Fortunately, such historical determinism is on the wane, a least among historians.
OK, I've now got those "class pyramids" located in every state's and province's box. Went for look remiscent of Twilight Struggle, but the mechanics are nothing like it.
Admittedly, the board is getting pretty crowded.
Lots on the "to do" list. Work in progress...